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Friday, 17 October 2014

Friday Five: reasons why I love NaNoWriMo

Yes, it's that time of year again! Only two weeks to go until NaNoWriMo kicks off and I frantically tap-tap 50,000 words in 30 days (or less, as I managed last year). It sounds like jolly hard work, especially on top of working full-time and having two dogs to attend to, but I enjoyed last year so much that I've signed up again. Why? Let me tell you...

1. License to abuse caffeine, chocolate and sweet things
During last year's NaNo, I was dieting, so I had to lay off the snacks or else undo all my hard work! Hours sitting typing + Haribo consumption = porky Lou! I did, however, go a little mental with tea, which left me wired and excitable but at least got me to goal- a week early and with a stinking cold, too! This year, I'm fully stocked with tea again but I fully intend to find some sort of sweet treat for an additional sugar hit. I'm thinking space pencils? Non-melty and can be rationed. But who am I kidding? I won't be rationing them at 11:30pm with 300 words left to go...

2. Motivation to sort out my work/life balance
One of the interesting things about NaNo last year was the realisation that I have way more free time than I think I have- so long as I use my time productively. Knowing that I needed to write a minimum of 1,667 words every day, I found that planning got finished quicker, books got marked faster, housework took a fraction of the time (although that's probably because I only did a fraction of what I normally would) and I managed to get everything done by simply not faffing about. What's that saying about "if you want something done, give it to a busy person"? Yeah, that.

3. Legitimate excuses for putting my PJs on as soon as I arrive home
Work done, dogs walked- it must be PJ time! Knowing that all I'll be doing between walking in the door and crawling into bed is type (and drink tea) it is socially acceptable to change straight from work clothes to bedclothes- even if it's 6pm. I love lounging around in my PJs, and NaNo is the best excuse.

4. Those magical 10K days!
These only ever happen on weekends (for obvious reasons) but they are such a buzz! My first published story, Late: a ghostly tale, weighed in at about 11.5K after months of drafting, scrapping, extending and beta-reading so, achieving almost that in one day feels amazing. Admittedly, they won't be my best ten thousand words but, that's what editing is for. NaNo is all about celebrating the quantity and worrying about the quality later.

5. Forcing in the Fun Time
With being so busy in November, it would be easy to focus solely on work and writing and burn out too soon. I do have tendency for tunnel-vision, so I plan a few deliberate nights off or other treats to make sure that I stay fresh for writing and don't lose all my friends completely. A few hours down the pub does wonders for creativity, and gives me chance to people-watch or test out a plot idea on a real person. My dogs probably get more walkies in November than any other winter month- partly from guilt, partly because my bottom is in danger of becoming sofa-shaped- although they do get them at random times, depending on when inspiration (or mental exhaustion) hits. Having to schedule time to just have fun makes me appreciate it more, because I know I'll be back to the laptop (or pile of marking) soon after.

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